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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  August 31, 2012 12:00am-1:00am EDT

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no change. what did you think of clint eastwood's speech? >> i thought it was embarrassing. is he supporting gitmo or the wars and he was confusing and rambling and a big mistake. >> did he just throw out the w? >> he did. he had a speech. had he a script. he discarded it. >> really? >> i am not going to mess with clint eastwood. you can. >> that was a horrible blunder. i mean, the organizers -- everything else was corey jog graphed nearly perfectly from 9:00. >> didn't mitt romney go to harvard law school? >> yes, he did. >> it should have been maybe a minute or two minutes. it went on 12, 13, 14 minutes or whatever and i didn't understand what he was doing. and i was on the floor and i was looking at the folks and they
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were embarrassed. these were republicans. they didn't know what this was all -- was he joking? it was very -- >> i think that's true, wolf. but clint eastwood isn't going to be on the ballot. he did not give his best performance, let's say that. but he did make it socially acceptable to laugh at barack obama. and one of barack obama's weaknesses is because of his pretension. >> you have to have a certain level of respect. >> you can laugh at anybody. >> you can do that -- you can do that, alec, but not at a presidential convention when you want to show that mitt romney is up to that, you don't go over -- you know what, let's play -- let's play that little clip and then we'll continue this conversation. watch this. >> what do you want me to tell romney? i can't tell him to do that. i can't do that to himself.
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you're absolutely crazy. you're getting as bad as biden. >> you know, is he doing stand-up at a presidential convention? it was awkward. we'll continue this conversation, you and i will continue it. >> maybe over some wine or beer or a couple of beers. piers morgan tonight is next. piers? >> thanks, wolf, anderson. good evening and welcome to the cnn grill which is absolutely buzzing tonight. john king and gloria borger.
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mitt romney and how did he do? the candidate talking about his faith, his family, and making out his case against president obama. >> i wish president obama had succeeded because i want america to succeed. [ applause ] but as promises gave way to disappointment and division, this isn't something we have to accept. now is the moment when we can can do something and with your help we will do something. now is the moment when we can stand up and say, i'm an american. i make my destiny. we deserve better. my children deserve better. my family deserves better. my country deserves better.
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>> mitt romney's big speech, let's be honest, what everyone here is talking about is hollywood legend clint eastwood talking to, of all things, an empty chair. >> what do you want me to tell romney? i can't tell him to do that. can't do that to himself. you're absolutely crazy. you're getting as bad as biden. >> if you're wondering where clint eastwood got that crazy idea, well, it all looked a bit familiar today at piers morgan tonight. so if you want somebody to blame, i can blame me. here to talk about it is john king and gloria borger.
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we have an empty chair of our own. clint's hollywood friend jon voight, i'd love to hear what he has to say. >> i'd like him to talk to that empty chair. >> to me, what most people are talking about right now, john, was clint eastwood. didn't completely self implode, was it hilarious comedy? >> the fact that we are talking about it on mitt romney's big night tells you that it was a distraction. inside the hall, people thought it was funny. if you're watching at home, if you don't like barack obama, you probably thought it was funny and scathing. if you like the president, you probably found that offensive and disrespectful. this is supposed to be about that small number of people that are undecided. i think it's a questionable call to begin the biggest hour on your biggest night on something that was strange. >> gloria, what we discovered later, he was supposed to speak
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for five minutes, he went on for at least 12 minutes and he was ad libbing. >> have you ever had a crazy uncle or that kind of thing? >> wolf said earlier he found it embarrassing. did you find it embarrassing? >> i did. i think it was a real mistake by the romney campaign. i don't understand how they could really let that happen. you can't exactly give him the hook but you have to set parameters. i think it set him behind schedule. i don't think this would work. so i think it struck a really bad note and i guarantee you that the candidate himself wasn't pleased. >> and let's turn to mitt romney's speech.
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success, how do you rate it? >> it's a very close race. you have to understand, success is in the eye of the beholder. again, what was the biggest challenge? number one is to convince people that president obama has had his chance and he has failed. i think that governor romney made a very sustained case against that. if you support the president, you won't buy that. but maybe even an obama voter who is not quite so sure, he probably made a convincing case, at least listen to me. he was not very specific and james carville didn't say anything about cutting taxes and regulation. did he convince people that he has the new plan to create jobs? i'm not so sure about that. did he make a very good case that barack obama came to office with lofty rhetoric and huge promises? shouldn't you be disappointed? i think he made that a convincing case. >> i thought it was about as good as mitt romney can make a speech. >> yeah, i mean, he was trying
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to tell a story which is, as we've talked about before, he hasn't really done. and he was really trying to walk this fine line. he wanted to convince republicans, okay, get out there and vote for me but also these persuadable voters who voted for barack obama in 2008, they are focused on those people and i'm sorry he didn't succeed so you'll have to give me a shot. >> john, gloria, this is the start, as we say, the real campaign, we all feel. i can't get enough of clint eastwood's conversation with that empty chair. here is a little bit more of it as i go over to the romney camp. enjoy this we lost it. let's go over here.
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are. >> okay. we're in a bar, nobody cares. now, you are one of mr. romney's key people. be honest, when you were watching clint eastwood doing his thing, were you gulping for air? were you palpitating? were you wondering, what the hell is dirty harry doing up there? >> to make a serious point, that's the 23 million americans are out of work and it's a very big deal and it's time for a change. >> come on, gayle. >> he ad libbed.
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look, you can't look at clint eastwood through the same political lens that you would other politicians. he's clint eastwood. >> if you wake up tomorrow and all of the headlines are clint eastwood goes bunkers, that's not good for you, is it? >> they won't be and i'll tell you why. mitt romney had a killer speech tonight. he talked about his positive vision for the country and wants to successfully and very effectively prosecuted the case against barack obama and talks about what is important to him. so that's what americans want to hear. we have the obligation to talk about the big differences between our campaign and what president obama has done and when you look at what mitt romney wants to do, he wants to have a stronger middle class with more jobs and takehome pay compared to what this president has done with the 23 million americans struggling to find
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work. >> i've got to be honest, i rather enjoyed the speech. i've seen twitter, some people loved it and i thought he did a solid job they are 70 days left. where we'll go from tampa is to all of the targeted states and we'll take the same message. we will continue to contrast governor romney's positive mission. americans are not happy with the way that this president has run the country. they think that he's lacking leadership. so we're going to continue to show that mitt romney and paul ryan are going to be more jobs, hire take-home pay and we're going to get federal spending under control. >> finally, one word answer, who made the better speech? mit or ann romney? >> mit mitt. >> i don't think you mean that. >> she was wonderful. >> it's a good night for you and the romney campaign. nice to see you. we'll be back right after this break.
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>> a lot of conservative people have been in hollywood. in fact, some of them are around town. i saw jon voight. there's a lot of people around town. john zeer, academy award winner, terrific guy. great shot. how did the nba become the hottest league on the planet? by building on the cisco intelligent network they're able to serve up live video, and instant replays, creating fans from berlin to beijing. what can we help you build? nice shot kid. the nba around the world
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welcome back. it's complete madness but i like it that way. i've been joined by a romney surrogate women policy committee. did mitt romney do it for you with women tonight? has he resonated? >> yes, absolutely the whole convention with the women of america. for me what i loved the most is he talked about his mother and mother running for office and how much that meant to him. i thought that was great. >> also, i've been through that a few times. >> what i love about the romney campaign, women should be whatever they want to be and the bad economy should decide and if
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she wants to be a lawyer, great. >> if a woman wants to have an abortion, mitt romney doesn't want to have one? >> mitt is not as strict as the platform. the platform has been a discussion. mitt's goal is a very noble goal. whether you're pro choice like i am or pro life like mitt, we should find a way to reduce the abortions in a year. >> overall, happy with the speech? >> yes, absolutely. >> mary, good to see you. >> thank you. >> the best man here in tampa to discuss clint eastwood's crazy speech, jon voight. how are you, sir? >> how are you, piers? >> you know clint well. what do you think about tonight? >> well, it depends on which side you are on for all of this. if you're on the left, you're going to find negatives about
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the night f you're on the conservative side, you're going to enjoy all of the things as they intended. for me, first of all, it was a tremendous thing for him to show up. he's a guy that doesn't do a lot of public speaking and he's kind of a shy fella. but he showed up and it was a tremendous thing and for the people who love clint, like i got some texts, clint's the man from young guys i know. >> i got a few tweets saying, what on earth is clint eastwood up to? he's gone completely crackers? >> well, it was very entertaining for the people that were there and there were jokes in it and the clint eastwood -- that kind of edge that he had in dirty hairy, a lot of people wouldn't find it funny but he said make my day either. so it became a signature performance and signature moment in all of the film and that's what it was like up there. only clint could do what he did. >> five minutes of that was
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scripted and the other seven minutes was ad lib. pretty dangerous to do that, isn't it? sg exactly dangerous and then i say, bravo, man. that's the greatest. >> what do you think dirty hairy would do? >> yeah. he's really going for it. >> how do you think mitt romney did tonight? >> i think he was wonderful tonight. look, as i say, it's always this way. the people on the left are going to try to find some holes in it. i think he was very clear and i think it was an elegant speech and i think it covered what needed to be covered and crecendoo and from what people have seen tonight and through this evening you see this man as a tremendously couple passionate man. he's compassionate man. he's a leader. he was very moving. this love story with he and ann is very touching. he's a guy that gets things
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done, no doubt. he takes charge and he gets people to be at their best and i think that showed tonight and he did -- the speech was very clear, very nicely delivered and it was -- he was very presidential. >> 70 days left until the big election. what's he going to do now? >> well, he's going to go back and do the work that he needs to do and the next big moment and, of course, there are all big moments, piers, because all eyes are upon this every step. but the next big moments will be the debates. >> jon voight, it's great to see you. standing up for clint eastwood. a great hollywood legend. great to see you. i'll be right back after a short break with more debate about the sensational night here at the gop convention. [ male announcer ] the perfect photo... [ man ] nice!
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hope and change had a powerful appeal but tonight i'd ask a simple question. if you felt that excitement when you voted for barack obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's president obama? you know there's something wrong with the kind of job he's done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him. >> mitt romney taking a shot at president obama. i want to bring in someone from the other side, debbie wasserman schultz. debbie, welcome. >> yes. >> the most testing and incentive, to put it mildly. let's talk about mitt romney's speech. i thought, to be fair, it's a pretty good, solid speech. what did you think? >> well, i think the fact that the most commentary following
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mitt romney's speech is about an empty chair says more about mitt romney than it does about barack obama. >> when you saw clint eastwood talking to a chair, were you jumping with delight? >> no, i actually thought it was a little sad. it was bewildering and sad. >> i'm a huge fan of him but i found it increasingly really uncomfortable. >> i thought it was a bizarre, uncomfortable, unfortunate moment and, again, you know, all of the buzz after the mitt romney speech is about the empty chair and i think that's a real commentary on mitt romney, even though they have spent the entire week making this entire convention not about mitt romney but barack obama. >> let's talk about the real battle. mitt romney moves on from here. overall it's been a pretty
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successful week, despite all of the trials and tribulations of a storm and then mitt romney will go away, his wife made a good speech for him, he made a pretty good speech and it's game on now until november. what are the perils to the democratic party? what are the warning signals that you have to be alert to? >> well, i think we're going to have a great convention next week. one of the things that i think i would just differ with you on on how they ended up at their convention this week because mitt romney said a whole lot, threw a lot at barack obama, even saying that everyone, including him was rooting for president obama to be successful when the night mitt romney won the florida primary, he said, you have to wonder what this election is really about, defeating barack obama. no one thinks that mitt romney or republicans have been rooting for barack obama to be successful. they've only cared about one job, his. and we're going to talk next week about president obama and how he's fought for america's
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jobs and taken us from where we were hemorrhaging 750,000 of those jobses and now we've had 29 straight jobs of job growth thanks to his policies and our convention, unlike this one, will be the most par tis pa tore in history. >> are you grouping around hollywood, finding your own stars to speak or is that on the blackburn ner now? >> are stars are the working class families and the people that will carry barack obama back to the white house for a second term on their soldiers. >> it's going to be hard neck week, i think, for barack obama. last time he ran on this huge campaign of open change and optimism. clearly the expectations have fallen quite substantially from those levels and people will say, you know what, he's done okay but actually there's a lot to criticize. i mean, unemployment is at a very unacceptable high now. it's over 8%. he's got to try to convince the
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american public to give him a chance. >> and i think he will. president obama has said, we've come a long way but we still have a ways to go. i think the american public recognizes president obama and we've made progress despite the republicans every step of the way have done everything they can to throw a wrench into the works, an obstacle in his path and all the while proposing that what we should do is go back to the failed policies of the past that nearly crashed our economy and got us into this mess in the first place. that's the contrast. you'll see next week a dramatically different vision and view than we'll present and president obama will talk about, one that says we will build the economy from the middle class out and if you work hard and play by the rules that you should have an opportunity to be successful. and we shouldn't just focus on people who are already successful. >> i'm already seeing unpleasant attack ads, the same super pac
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ads that barack obama agreed to not get involved in. >> they operate on their own and -- what's unfortunate is -- >> accuses mitt romney of killing women, for example. >> you have a handful of billionaires on their side that are essentially trying to buy the white house. >> whether they admit it or not -- >> there's not any remote comparison between the third party -- >> there are a handful of billionaires supporting mitt romney who would like to buy the white house and we're running a people-powered grassroots campaign. the average contribution to president obama's campaign is $50.23. 98% of our contributions are under 250 and we don't accept pac contributions or federal lobbyists. there's not anything remotely comparable to the way we run our campaigns and fund our campaigns and the way that the republicans do it. >> debbie, we can debate this further next week. >> i'm sure we will.
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>> in start lot, north carolina. stee you there. >> thank you. karl rove and why he's more powerful than ever. and taylor hicks is here. ♪ >> cheers. okay, team! after age 40, we can start losing muscle --
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there's one person who cannot be ignored, karl rove. with me is the author of the new book "boss rove." also, one of my favorite guests, welcome. we'll come to you in a moment. let's start with you, craig, because big night for the republicans. a big week for the republicans.
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do you believe karl rove is still weaving his magic behind the scenes? >> i think one of the biggest stories here is really going on off camera. and we've had this narrative, this spectacle repeated again and again to thousands of romper reporters. dozens and dozens of millionaires were being entertained by the romney campaign. they hid their badges so reporters would not know who they were. you have the casino magnet here who plans to give $100 million to the campaign. >> the democrats, even though president obama vowed never to get involved with super pacs has done a complete u-turn, he has his own super pac sometimes manned by the white house. isn't it as simple as that?
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>> it is as simple as that but the democrats -- why should the democrats fight with one hand behind their back? >> what about principle? what about saying we're not going to try to win this by zsh that's a recipe -- you have david coke in the new york delegation saying he will give as much as $400 million. even wall street journal's own colleagues are saying isn't this a complete perversion of the electoral process? >> this whole issue of money and the elections and the ability to buy an election effectively through super pacs, it makes me vomit that the american system ha has now gotten to this stage that the guy with the most billionaire secret backers in secret rooms can effectively buy an election. what do you think about that? >> well, can they effectively buy an election? we have people running for lower office that throw a ton of money in that still lose. we don't spend that much.
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we spend lesson the election than we do on frozen yogurt. you should have more say because you're on tv than someone else at home is also not fair. i think freedom of speech has to be freedom of speech even more rich people. >> so when the supreme court gave a green license to all of this, you were quite happy, were you, even though the effects surely, surely is that there will be an ever bigger corruption about the american process? >> i don't know -- if you don't have, that if you don't allow people to spend money, then incumbents always win. the only way you get press is to be an incumbent or to have money and i think the real test of someone who is a freedom of speech nut, like me, is if you mean freedom of speech for everyone. i have freedom of speech for the anti-abortion people, for all of the religious people and i believe in freedom of speech for everyone. i just think you can't just say
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that we have to -- i mean, money is speech and you've got to allow that, too, i think. >> let me bring craig back in. there is an argument, if you believe in freedom of speech, then all of this should come under that. i don't agree with that. >> i think it's silly to think that karl rove doesn't get more voice than the average joe on the street. by contrast, john mccain spent 375 million. this is already well over a billion dollars and i think it's the political process. >> mr. unger, you're on tv and you're giving your point of view on tv and that is also not fair. you're on there because you wrote a book. i'm on tv because i happen to learn to juggle when i was 12 years old and piers is on tv for -- well, i'm sure good reasons. but we get to give our point of
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view and i think you can't say our point of view is more valid simply because we don't have a lot of money. >> if you look at the supreme court decision, he said it's to help the disadvantaged class. well, the coke brothers have $40 billion. >> any human beings on god's earth could possibly be. for now, craig unger, thank you very much. >> stick around for the panel, if you don't mind. >> yes. >> stick around. what happens when you make strong political views with beer? we're going to come back with my all-star panel that have already been guzzling away in the cnn grill. ♪ everyone has goals.
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unlike president obama, i will not raise taxes on the middle class of america. [ applause ] as president, i'll protect the sanctity of life, i'll honor the institution of marriage. and i will guarantee america's first liberty the freedom of religion. >> mitt romney. with me now, back with us, penn jillette and cnn contributor and reporter for the
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los angeles times and i can't go through many of this. there are too many titles and i'm getting 50,000 tweets and they are saying, are you going to drink any of this beer? what kind of damn brit are you? so just for the record, does it get any better for a columnist in the history of journalism than clint eastwood going bonkers on the stage? >> it was awesome. he did it without a teleprompter or complete control of his bladder. >> ben smith, five minutes was agreed with the romney camp. he went on for 13 minutes and it was complete chaos. >> i think people are going to be talking about clint eastwood rather than mitt romney tomorrow. the whole convention was supposed to be about women of color representing this new young republican party and it it really -- it was dominated by this 82-year-old guy going a
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little bit off the rails. >> right. from the political point of it, be serious for a moment, no doubt that tomorrow's headlines on television around the world will not be mitt romney nails it. it will be, what the hell was mitt romney speaking? >> it was completely da-da. i mean, i don't know who from the romney campaign authorized a man in his 80s to get up there for 15 minutes and talk to an empty chair. i mean, you did this the other night. >> clint eastwood, dirty hairy, watching my show and taking my ideas. >> why are you fringing? >> i think also the reason it was so tense-worthy for the romney campaign is they are the most button downed control campaign that i have ever seen. they do not allow a word off script and all of a sudden you have a guy, as soon as he went
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into guantanamo. >> so very respected news reporters are saying, you have romney advisers staring open-mouthed like statues wondering, what in the hell is he going to say next? >> when he first endorsed mitt romney in sun valley, that was much more -- it seemed to be much more terse and to the point and so maybe they were not expecting that tonight. i don't think any of us were. >> penn, you were watching this. do you feel an utter sense of horror or -- >> no. no. no. no. no. there's a certain point where you've got to say, it's clint eastwood, let him do whatever he wants. if you came to me and said -- how much does someone have to do, piers, before you just give them a pass? who the hell are you to bad-mouth clint eastwood? i think the smartest thing,
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maybe the only good thing the republicans did, the only good thing they did, was to let him loose. if you said to me, clint eastwood wants to come and be on stage, i would say, let him do whatever he wants. it doesn't reflect on romney. it's just goofy, wild, beautiful, crazy. >> calm down. >> it's wait it should be. >> the whole idea of him being defended by you is pretty ironic. however z-- >> exactly. that's my point. >> i love clint eastwood. people like wolf blitzer, tom brokaw, they are all feeling embarrassed. talk about the politics here. what would it do to the party's reputation that they unleashed clint eastwood tonight and he did what he did? >> i think these things are supposed to be very carefully scripted infommercials a he messages to bring mitt romney as a young, new kind of head --
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maybe not hip but certainly fresh face for the republican party. >> am i just an out of touch brit coming over here, trying to stick my nose and desecrating a great american icon. >> yes. >> you stay out of it penn. >> to say you're a famous movie actor, do whatever you want, i don't trust the guy. and then he goes crazy and makes look mitt look even more boring than he is. there is no positive to that at all. >> tell me a positive about it. >> you watch this thing, can't take your eyes away from it. i think the real question is, how many people then from mitt romney's speech. a million people are fwetweetin about this. maybe it brought in more viewers. >> everyone tomorrow morning will be talking about the republican convention. and if mitt romney had gotten up there and had given a -- let's be honest, it was not an amazing
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speech. this is the most tepid that i've seen of a nominee's speech. >> the mere fact that the first segment we do as a panel is clint eastwood, not mitt romney, i think it's a disaster. when we come back after the break, i want to get into mitt romney's speech, hit or miss? one is for a clean, wedomestic energy future that puts us in control. our abundant natural gas is already saving us money, producing cleaner electricity, putting us to work here in america and supporting wind and solar.
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welcome back to the cnn grill. it's nearly 1:00 a.m. on the east coast but we are still buzzing with energy and excitement. i'm back with meg and joel stein. let's talk about mitt romney
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because that's why we are here. ryan, did mitt romney do enough tonight, do you think, to satisfy not just the party but the outer world? >> i don't know. i don't think we'll know for a few days. mitt romney has been -- had to be lifted up by the other sort of all-stars of this party. marco rubio tonight who gave a good speech, best of the night, or whether it was jeb bush who gave a big speech and condi who the crowd really loved. it reminded me of 2004 with the democratic side. they weren't really that excited about john kerry or barack obama. >> i'm getting a sense of party unity. they do seem to have come together and that in itself could a threat to the democrats. >> i think that's true and i think that the romney campaign from all of their actions on
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welfare and suggesting that this is going to be a base election but romney needs to be beyond that. he needs to be speaking to the audience beyond the are room. tonight he tried to do that. i think the speech was a little flat and -- >> but he is a bit flat. i mean, joel stein -- >> there are people -- ron paul and people chanting -- >> who cares about ron paul? i love him dearly but he's always going to be in the corner with the protesters. >> they were chanting in the room with the usa chant. >> come on, that was like one or two people. >> that's not unity. this is a party divided. >> i don't agree with that. >> romney finally gave in to that. romney has resisted that his whole life, you know, he said the other day he didn't want to be personalized like a piece of meat, whatever that means.
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it was relief almost when he made a joke about his religion. >> the convention today where the stories that were told about them -- >> i was going to say the same thing. people from his life and his personal life paid testament, speaking eulogies of young boys who died of leukemia. he's not afraid of his faith now. let's go to penn jillette. mitt romney, hit or miss? >> well, i don't know. what bothers me is the whole humanity and nice guy thing. if there's one thing that obama and romney certainly are, it's good people. they are also both smart, they are both good. i would like it to be more dry. all of the touchy-feely stuff creeps out my new england heart. i know they care about people and i know they are smart and i know they are good. i wish they didn't spend so much
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time sucking up like they were on a reality show. >> he doesn't at all, though. >> romney doesn't want to do it but he does do it. we saw mitt romney going into areas he just feels uncomfortable doing but he has to. having said, that i found stuff about his mother, his upbringing, about his wife, his children, i think the guy is a very solid father-son person and that's important for candidate. >> he's given much bigger part of his life and ann as well to service. and he talked about that and he also used the word hell tonight and on the campaign trail he notoriously said h-e double l sticks. >> we have about a minute less, maybe less. democratic convention next week. i want each of you to give me a ten second resume of what you want next week.

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